I have to say that reading the various comments on the death of one of the greatest folk musicians in history made me very cross. There are enough dimwitted entertainers around if you are looking for an outlet for righteous indignation. Meryl Steep or Sean Penn or our own Caite are standard issue cookie cutter lefties, who no doubt would give you chapter and verse on the excellent health system found in Cuba and who would happily wear a Che t-shirt without thinking twice. Pete Seeger was a man of the left but so far as I know, never ran a gulag, wasn’t head of the KGB or provided state secrets to the Soviet Union. And in its own way, I admire this, which is a statement he made to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee in 1955, not exceptionally brave by then but brave enough. He might well have gone to jail for a year to defend his right to free speech.
I decline to discuss, under compulsion, where I have sung, and who has sung my songs, and who else has sung with me, and the people I have known. I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, or I might be a vegetarian, make me any less of an American. I will tell you about my songs, but I am not interested in telling you who wrote them, and I will tell you about my songs, and I am not interested in who listened to them.
Stalin is, however, dead and has been since 1953. Great to see that people are such strong anti-Stalinists more than sixty years after he died but to tell the truth, that cuts little ice. So try this on. What’s your personal opinion of the greatest anti-Communist of the times when Stalin actually was alive and plotting. Tell me your thoughts on Joe McCarthy. Tell me that you think that he was one of the most admirable men who has ever lived, a man who took the immense abuse that eventually killed him but whose accusations have been confirmed with almost 100% accuracy given what has come out of the KGB archive and the Venona Papers. Doesn’t take much to stand against Stalin today.